Our customers have always appreciated our advice on how to best prepare their possessions for cleaning.
Here you will find a few terms defined along with useful tips that will help you get the best results when having your valuables cleaned.
About the "dry-cleaning" process
Dry-cleaning uses fluids to remove soil and stains from fabric. In fact, the term “dry-cleaning” is misleading; it is called dry-cleaning because the fluid contains little or no water and does not penetrate the fibers as water does.
Among the advantages of dry-cleaning is its ability to dissolve greases and oils in a way that water cannot. Dry-cleaning helps to return garments to a “like-new” condition using precautions to prevent shrinkage, loss of color, and fabric distortion.
The dry-cleaning process begins with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. The garments are then loaded into a machine resembling an oversized front-loading home washer. Throughout the cleaning process the fluid is filtered or distilled to ensure its clarity.
Today, the solvent used by almost 90% of all drycleaners is perchloroethylene, commonly known as “perk.” It is completely non-flammable and non-combustible, of relatively low toxicity, and can be efficiently reused and recycled.
What "wet-cleaning" is
Wet cleaning starts with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. Wet cleaning is the process of removing soils from garments and other textile items through the use of water and additives (such as detergent) and using precautions to prevent shrinkage, loss of color, and fabric distortion.
What traditional "laundering" is
Special detergents, additives, and finishes sets commercial laundering apart from home laundering. This process enables your cleaner to offer consistent quality shirts at reasonable prices.
Professional cleaning steps
Professional cleaning involves many different operations, all performed by skilled people and designed to give your garments a fresh and clean appearance. Procedures include:
- Checking the care label for instructions and fiber content
- Classifying the garment according to fabric type, color and degree of soiling
- Removing spots and stains using special equipment and stain removal techniques
- Dry-cleaning, wet cleaning, or laundering, only if so labeled
- Reapplying any sizing, water repellency or other finishes when necessary
- Finishing the garment on professional pressing equipment
- Replacing buttons or performing minor repairs as necessary
- Packaging the garment in protective wrapping
- The Importance of Care Labels
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that manufacturers attach a permanent care label to textile garments to provide directions for their care.
Manufacturers must list at least one method of safe care for a garment. The rule covers all textile clothing except footwear, gloves, hats, suede and leather clothing, and household items such as linens.
The rule stipulates that the care label is easily found, will not separate from the garment, and will remain legible for the garment’s useful life.
The label must warn about any part of the recommended care method that would harm the garment of other garments cleaned with it.
Read more about professional cleaning steps here
How you help your clothes & your cleaner
Bring your garments in for professional cleaning as soon as possible after staining occurs. Stains or soils left too long may become permanent Discuss any stains with your cleaner.
Keep perfumes, lotions, deodorants, antiperspirants, and other toiletries away from your clothes. These products likely contain alcohol, which will damage some dyes.
Protect garment, especially those made of silk, from excessive perspiration, as this can cause dyes to discolor.
Have matching pieces of an ensemble cleaned together so any color fading will be uniform. Protect your garments from prolonged exposure to direct light
Don’t press stained or soiled clothing, as the heat may set some stains
What to look for when purchasing a new Fur
You may be looking to purchase a new fur for work or for evening wear or even for casual wear. Fur has many uses and is very versatile and is being used by all the top fashion houses as can be seen on all the latest season’s runways. There are some important things to consider when you are looking at purchasing fur.
- Do the pelts match in color and texture?
- Are the pelts lustrous and shiny?
- Is the under fur dense and soft? The under fur on male pelts is generally coarser than female pelts.
- Most importantly, is the garment comfortable to wear and is the weight comfortable for you?
- The same should be sewn tightly
- Fur garments should fall comfortably and evenly from your shoulders
Although fur had received bad reviews over the past few years especially from such groups as PETA, only animals that are not on the endangered species list are used. In many countries many of the animals used in making fur garments are in such high numbers that they are considered to be pests. More often than not the animals are humanely gassed.
Caring for your Fur
- Never store in a plastic bag – remember, this may cause crushing and this can destroy the fur pile and the look of the garment
- Never leave a fur in bright light or in direct sunlight as this may cause the color to fade
- All repairs should be conducted by a furrier
- When you need to get your coat cleaned bring it to a specialized fur cleaner
- Store your fur in a temperature controlled and relative humidity controlled environment during the warm summer months
- Never brush a fur coat as this will cause molting
- Hang your coat by the shoulders and be sure it is hung correctly and that it has enough room in the closet so that it is not leaning in other garments. This will help prevent any crushing
- Avoid placing your fur garment near any heat source as this will cause the oils to bleed out of the fur and cause the leather to dry out and molting to occur.
- For any additional information on the caring of your fur please contact your local furrier or contact the Fur Information Council of America.
Always think of the future and remember that the better you keep your fur the easier it will be to restyle when fashions change and the better condition it will be in if you plan on passing it on to the next generation in your will which is more common than one would think.
Storage of Furs
Furs and leathers are often stored in cold storage during the summer months and this is considered to be a good way to increase the life of fur and leather made garments. Good storage also helps maintain the value and beauty of your garments.
Cold storage is used to protect the furs and leather from the summer’s excessive heat and humidity which can lead to drying out of the oils in the leather and furs. This can lead to molting in the case of furs.
Vaults are generally large dark rooms and this lack of light protects the furs and leathers from any bright light or direct sunlight which can cause color fading and discoloration. The vault temperature and humidity levels are monitored and controlled constantly. This cold environment helps prevent infestation of insects and rodents as does the pest control programs that are considered accepted practices in fur storage businesses.
If you are planning on storing your fur it is important to use a reputable business that specializes in fur storage. Check with your local furrier for referrals or if the furrier is not local check on the internet and in the local phone book. Many business especially dry cleaners have set themselves up as specialists in fur storage and although some may be most are not. Here are some useful tips when questioning a business on how effective they are in storing fur.
- Ask to see the storage unit
- Check out how the items are stored. Fur garments should never be hung too closely to each other in order to prevent crushing and each garment should have plenty of room and be hung correctly by the shoulders from the hanger
- Check whether temperature and humidity controls are in place and how these are monitored.
- Ask to see their pest control log books which show how regularly the vault is sprayed and if there have been any infestation issues in the past.
If your dry cleaner takes your coat from you for storing or cleaning and puts in a plastic bag, promptly remove the garment and leave. This is an absolute sign that these people have not been trained in handling fur garments. Fur coats must never be crushed.
If you are deciding also to get your coat cleaned you should also use a cleaner that specializes in furs. Fur coats are far too expensive for a dry cleaner to make a mistake on. If your local dry cleaners have set themselves up as fur cleaners ask them what their treatment entails. It s also important to note at this point that many dry cleaners also set themselves up as being in the business of fur repairs however in this case any repairs should be completed by a furrier.
Proper care of archived wedding gowns
Our archival boxes should be stored in an area where temperature and humidity levels are as constant as possible, preferably a closet located on an interior wall. Attics and basement are not recommended. Close proximity to heating/air conditioning vents, or pipes should be avoided, as well as direct sunlight.
Every 2-3 years the box should be opened and inspected. Before handling your gown, wash hands with a small amount of baking soda mixed with warm water. When opening the box examine each protective layer: box, tissue, and cotton fabric. If you see any spots or discoloration on storage materials, or your gown, contact your us immediatly. It is not necessary to remove the gown for initial inspections. Examine the top layer of your gown, and in-between a few folds.
In the first 10-15 years of the cotton liner and cover should be washed. Place a clean sheet on a bed, remove gown onto the sheet.
Washing instructions: Gentle cycle, warm water, low alkali detergent (we recommend Tide Free-8.3 pH), air dry, and press. If you need repacking instructions, contact Brentwood Royal Cleaners.
After initial washing, rewash every 20 years. Tissue should be replaced every 25-30 years. Once again, check with us at Brentwood Royal Cleaners Inc.